The Return to Eden (And Now There Are Stars)

Two years ago, I wrote a poem I entitled “Unsettled.” Even though I enjoyed writing it, and even though several friends, family, and even strangers responded positively to it, there was a part of me that was sad to write it.

The problem with living an unsettled life is that it can be very tiresome. And lonely. But it was my life, and I was content.

I once asked God if I would ever meet a man who would woo and pursue me, and He reminded me that He had pursued me all my life and would continue to do so. I was content with God, but God wanted more for me.

So this poem is a response to “Unsettled” and to how much my life has changed in the last two years.

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This post is a response to “I’m From…” found at Communicating.Across.Boundaries

Istanbul, emilykazakh

I am from

generations of pioneers. I follow trails made by

unsettled hearts

seeking more.


I am from

dusty shoes lined up at the door,

woven rugs hung on the walls,

and tables laden with bread and tea.


I am from

economy seats–

2 a.m. flights–

time zones–


exchange rates–

customs officers–

I am found amongst the pages of my passport.


I am from

a home of story.

I have roots in the tales I have heard and told

with every new introduction.


I am from


and “hellos”…

My home is in welcoming arms and the blessings of each farewell.

The Novel: Literary Elements

The Novel: Literary Elements

I have my Bachelor of Arts in English, and I taught high school literature for three years. I wholeheartedly agree with this diagram.

Which is why today as I read over a chapter I was working on, I found it very amusing that I had managed to sneak something in that not only foreshadowed conflict but also provided insight into the two character’s personalities and motivations within the scene.

I was writing a romantic moment – which are quite fun because I find them humorous. Romance can be so awkward, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I like messing with my characters.

Anyway, I was working on this one moment when one of the characters quotes Lord Byron.

Now you might be thinking, Oh, Byron is so romantic! Or Yep, Emily, you’re a nerd. I agree more with the latter, to be perfectly honest, but I have to admit that when I wrote this scene back in January, I had chosen Byron because he is a romantic. And honestly, I kind of just threw the line in there to fill in the silence in my head.

Today I reread the poem from where the line came, and I realized that it was a stroke of genius.

Because you see, it highlighted the fact that my two characters are at very different places in their lives and want very different things.

Yep, I used an allusion to create foreshadowing. I am awesome.

Here’s the poem:

Don Juan, Canto the Fifteenth
George Gordon, Lord Byron

Between two worlds life hovers like a star,

    ‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge.

How little do we know that which we are!

    How less what we may be! The eternal surge

Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar

    Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge,

Lash’d from the foam of ages; while the graves
Of empires heave but like some passing waves.

Time will tell if this remains in the book, I suppose, but I amused myself greatly with this discovery.

Sometimes the curtains are blue, and sometimes they’re not.

The Novel: Writing Propaganda

Today while members of my family saw The Hunger Games without me, I researched World War I American propaganda for my book. I really want to see that movie, so I think that’s why I decided to skip where I had left off from before and jump right into my chapters on WWI.

Because of this, I have just written my very own pro-war propaganda speech. It’s part Four Minute Men, part fire and brimstone sermon.

I feel dirty.

Here are two poems that I read that helped inspire today’s writing. They make me cringe.

It’s Duty Boy

    My boy must never bring disgrace to his immortal sires—
    At Valley Forge and Lexington they kindled freedom’s fires,
    John’s father died at Gettysburg, mine fell at Chancellorsville;
    While John himself was with the boys who charged up San Juan Hill.
    And John, if he was living now, would surely say with me,
    “No son of ours shall e’er disgrace our grand old family tree
    By turning out a slacker when his country needs his aid.”
    It is not of such timber that America was made.
    I’d rather you had died at birth or not been born at all,
    Than know that I had raised a son who cannot hear the call

    That freedom has sent round the world, its previous rights to save—
    This call is meant for you, my boy, and I would have you brave;
    And though my heart is breaking, boy, I bid you do your part,
    And show the world no son of mine is cursed with craven heart;
    And if, perchance, you ne’er return, my later days to cheer,
    And I have only memories of my brave boy, so dear,
    I’d rather have it so, my boy, and know you bravely died
    Than have a living coward sit supinely by my side.
    To save the world from sin, my boy, God gave his only son—
    He’s asking for My boy, to-day, and may His will be done.

    Attention, Mr. Farmer Man, and listen now to me,
    and I will try and show to you what I can plainly see.
    Your Uncle Sam, the dear old man who’s been so good to you,
    is needing help and watching now to see what you will do.
    Your Uncle’s in the great world war and since he’s entered in
    it’s up to every one of us to see that he shall win.
    He’s trying hard to “speed things up” and do it with a dash,
    and so just now he’s asking you to aid him with your cash.
    Remember, all he asks of you is but a simple loan,
    and every patriot comes across without a single moan.
    Should Uncle Sammy once get mad (he will if you get lax),
    he then will exercise his right, and make you pay a tax.

    Should Kaiser Bill and all his hordes, once get across the Pond,
    d’ye think he’ll waste his time on you, and coax to take a bond?
    Why no, siree. He’d grab and hold most everything he saw.
    He’d take your farm, your stock and lands, your wife and babies all.
    He’d make you work, he’d make you sweat, he’d squeeze you till you’d groan.
    So be a man, and come across. Let Uncle have that loan.


Oh dear God.

Are You Asking Me To Dance?

Originally written June 12, 2010

I don’t like to dance-
I don’t like to feel awkward-
I will dance alone.

I must always lead.
I don’t know how to follow:
I’ve led all my life.

I cannot relax,
I can’t let you lead me through
the crowded ballroom.

No, no, no! Please! I-
Oh, I don’t- sorry. Are you-
You are- but I – ok.

I don’t know this step-
in, out among the couples-
I don’t know my role.

Can we be simple?
A step, step, slide, twirl me ’round-
Just a simple step.

I can’t catch my breath,
and I’m having fun, I guess,
but-do I trust you?

Don’t you even think
about dipping me-not yet.
Let’s go slow, steady.

And until I find my feet-
can I stand on top of yours?